How can chronic inflammation affect my body?

Inflammation is supposed to be a good thing, a way for the body to fend off harmful bacteria, viruses, and other elements that could be toxic to us. On a most basic level, we’re all familiar with the kind of inflammation that accompanies cuts and bruises -- pain, swelling, heat, and redness. Allergies and arthritis are also forms of inflammation. When injured tissue becomes inflamed, the body reacts by calling in the immune-system troops to quell the heat and injury. Even the redness and swelling around an acne lesion is low-grade inflammation in action.

However, chronic inflammation acts like a smoldering wildfire in our bodies. When inflammation goes awry, it can disrupt the immune system and trip chronic problems or disease. The scary-sneaky part about inflammation is that it can be going on inside us at a deep level without us really knowing it because we can’t necessarily feel it. Eventually, you do have to take note of it when it builds up over time and results in an ailment or disease, from simple skin rashes and persistent acne to more serious problems like heart disease and cancer. What fuels the endless burn of chronic inflammation? Oxidative stress, or free-radical damage that can cause wrinkles and cancer. Because free radicals steal electrons from other molecules, rendering those molecules handicapped and damaged, they both trigger inflammation and are created by it.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.